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Design Principles

Applied IT (Year 12) - Design Concepts

Christian Bien

Design Principles

The design principles are as follows:

  • Balance

  • Movement

  • Emphasis (Contrast and Proportion)

  • Unity and Harmony

We encourage you to also read Canva's Design Principles and Elements as well:

Design Principle #1: Balance

The design principle that measures the weight of elements on a design. Balance can created through the symmetrical or asymmetrical placement of shapes. Balance can also be created through the even use of negative space. In the above image, the even distribution on colour and shapes helps create balance in the image.

Design Principle #2: Movement

Movement is the flow or the direction of a design. Movement can be created through the repetition of similar sized shapes and through the use of line that allows the reader to track and guide the viewer through the design. In the above image, the repetition of the squares directs the viewer to look towards the centre of the image.

Design Principle #3: Emphasis (Contrast and Proportion)

Emphasis is created through size proportion and contrast. Contrast is often shown through the element of colour and can be lowly contrast, use of two similar colours, and highly contrast, the use of two different colours - usually opposites on the colour wheel. Proportion is often shown through the size of shapes, text or thickness of lines. The larger the shape of text, the more important the element is regarded in the design, hence is emphasised amongst the design. In the above image, the colours of the individuals in the bath tub contrast against the yellow backdrop, creating emphasis to direct the viewer's attention to the individuals in the tub.

Design Principle #4: Unity and Harmony

Unity and harmony often go together and refers to the emotions of completeness in the design. The question you ask yourself when assessing unity and harmony is "Do the elements work together?".

Harmony and unity can be created through the use of a consistent colour scheme (e.g. warm or cool colours) and repetition of similar sized shapes. The use of cool colours in the above image as well as the curvy and soft edges of the water creates unity and harmony, producing calming and soothing effect to the viewer.

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